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How AI could level the playing field for women in tech

Person reaching out to a robot, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics concept, women in tech

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Eilidh McMenemie discusses the gender gap in tech and the potential of AI to bridge it. AI offers personalised learning, mentorship, and hands-on opportunities, empowering women to excel in tech careers.

Eilidh is an AI solutions Engineer at tomoro.ai and has spent her career in AI building and designing solutions that integrate Large Language Models (LLM’s) into an organisations systems and processes.

women in tech

These solutions have spanned across operations, risk and the creative industry looking at how humans and AI agents can interact together in the workplace.

Recent studies have revealed a stark reality: women and non-binary individuals are vastly underrepresented in the tech industry.

In the UK, they hold a mere 29% of tech roles overall, with software engineering lagging behind filling only 20% of those. Though strides have been made in education, particularly in STEM fields to encourage more women to get into this industry, a significant gap persists in high-level tech careers.  

Despite the soaring demand for tech workers, according to research by Women in Tech, it is currently projected to take over 130 years to close the economic gender divide. This shocking disparity highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to bridge the skills gap quicker and empower women to move into tech roles.  This disparity is not only slowing progress towards an inclusive workplace but also limits the visibility of female role models in tech – a crucial factor for inspiring the next generation. 

However, the recent progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Large Language Models (LLMs) now offers a promising solution. These advancements could be the turning point in bridging the gap between industry demands and talent availability – while awaiting the full impact of investments in women’s education on the workforce. And why is this? Because AI possesses unparalleled capabilities to personalise learning experiences, offer scalable mentorship, and facilitate hands-on learning opportunities outside of the traditional formats.   

women in tech

So, what is this AI? 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. Among the various types of AI technologies, Large Language Models (LLMs) have recently made huge advancements and improvements that have captured our attention. LLMs are advanced algorithms or ‘models’ that have been trained on vast amounts of text from the world wide web meaning they can understand and engage in conversation, answer questions, and provide information, making them valuable tools in numerous applications. 

Let’s bridge the gap  

ChatGPT is one of the most well-known AI tools available on the market for the public. It utilises a Large Language Model to do just about any task that you give it with high performance. An LLMs ability to personalise learning styles over extensive subjects – while guiding users towards best practices – accelerates the upskilling process and provides a diverse range of talents within a team – a crucial component for closing the tech gender imbalance.  

We are already seeing the monumental impact these tools have made in education and for people currently in the industry, so there is nothing stopping interested and ambitious women to use this tech to empower their own careers. 

Getting started with ChatGPT   

Embarking on your tech learning journey with ChatGPT is simple. This AI-powered tool is designed to make tech concepts accessible to beginners, guiding you through the complexities of technology with ease. Here’s how you can use ChatGPT to kickstart your learning: 

  • Explaining Tech Concepts: Unsure about a specific tech term or concept? Just ask ChatGPT. It can break down complex topics into simple, easy-to-understand explanations, making the vast tech world much less daunting. 
  • Learning Coding Basics: ChatGPT can serve as an interactive coding tutor. From writing your first line of code to understanding advanced concepts, it provides step-by-step guidance and interactive examples that enhance your learning experience 
  • Finding Resources and Courses: Tailored learning is crucial, and ChatGPT excels here. Based on your interests and skill level, it can recommend online courses, tutorials, and resources that best match your learning goals. 

The benefits of using AI over your standard tutorial notebooks or online learning sessions is that the likes of ChatGPT can adapt its responses to your level of understanding, ensuring that explanations are just right for you. By using an AI tool like ChatGPT, you have a learning assistant at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. The examples above are proof that the power is in your hands as to what you want to be learning, you are in full control of your learning potential now. 

Advancing with other AI models  

Once you’ve gained confidence in interacting with AI through platforms like ChatGPT, it will soon be time to take the skillset to the next level.  There are thousands of different types of LLM’s that have been trained to perform slightly different tasks. Tools such as githubs copilot has been trained on huge amounts of project code, meaning it can provide collaborative coding assistance, can streamline the development process, and provide intelligent suggestions and augment the coding expertise. Another resource that is invaluable for people who want to progress in this industry is Huggingface, an AI community that provide opensource toolkits and accelerators for you to start building your own tools, understanding the tech/AI landscape and welcoming you into a group of like-minded people who have a passion for learning and AI. 

Overcoming challenges and staying motivated  

In the ever-evolving landscape of tech, overcoming challenges and staying motivated is essential for women and non-binary people navigating the complexities of self-paced learning and juggling multiple roles in their work-study lifestyle.   

Acknowledging these hurdles is the first step towards overcoming them. Joining supportive networks and communities can provide resources, mentorship, and a sense of belonging, helping everyone navigate through uncertainties and stay motivated. Additionally, using AI tools like ChatGPT for instant feedback and explanations that are tailored to your preference can dramatically improve your learning experience. ChatGPT can also be used as your coach who can give you inspirational quotes, guidance and tips for getting you back to your focus zone. The opportunities and experience these LLMs can provide are endless! 

A better future in tech  

As we’ve explored – the potential of AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) to revolutionise tech education and career paths cannot be overstated.However, even with cutting-edge tools and tech, it’s imperative for business leaders to recognise the inherent value of diversity. By enabling and supporting women and non-binary people to leverage AI and LLMs to kickstart and grow their careers, we can empower a transition into the tech industry, creating a more inclusive and diverse industry where everyone can thrive.  

Business leaders must also prioritise fostering an inclusive environment and championing diversity. Companies that embrace diversity enrich their workplace culture while unlocking a wealth of perspectives and ideas. By encouraging job applications from a diverse pool and nurturing an inclusive culture, forward-thinking business leaders pave the way for their businesses to thrive.  

At Tomoro, we believe AI has the power to reinvent the future of work and we are committed to supporting organisations like SheCanCode to empower individuals to use AI to excel in their careers. 

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